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Cactus Beginner! In need of direction...

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#1 owenbowen04


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Posted 26 August 2007 - 12:28 AM

I've been reading the vaults recently on Cacti and was going to start a project with some San Pedro. But I am somewhat clueless on what to begin with. I would be making up my own soil from a thread in the vault. I live in a zone 6 climate, so these little dudes would be indoors aprox. 9/12 months of the year, with a small grow light. Time isn't really a big factor, for I am very patient, but I'm not getting any younger. Maybe someone with some experience could shed some non-direct sunlight on this matter. (yeah, I know, another bad cactus joke)

Does the species of cactus really matter? I was looking between San Pedro or Peruvian Torch. I wanted to go with the latter, simply because the spines look badass. Any opinions?

Next... Should I begin with seeds or start out from cuttings? When starting out from seeds, aprox. how long before I would see any results? If using seeds could I expect to see a sizeable growth within the first year?

Now cuttings? I assume cuttings are sections of growing cacti (not necessarily rooted) that new branches of cactus would form off of. Any truth to my theory? lol. If not please correct me. And if you would suggest cuttings, BouncingBear offers different sizes (6" or 12"). What would be the advantage of buying the larger cutting?

Pheww.. now that I got that all of my chest...

Sorry for the infinite amount questions, and I hope I am not making you guys repeat anything thats already been said! I am open to any and all suggestions, any response would be a greatly appreciated. I am at your mercy...


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#2 llamabox



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Posted 31 August 2007 - 05:01 PM

First if you grew them under lights in the winter you would get long, stretchy etoliated growth. It is better if you allow them to go dormant in the winter.
I am in zone 5 and have my plants outdoors from april till mid october. So they are dormant for 4-5 months depending on when the first and last freezes are.

There have been many reports of Trichocereus Bridgesii bieng more potent than either pachanoi or peruvianus. But all 3 work about the same.

Cuttings will get you a larger cactus faster. But you can start more seeds for the price. Seedlings on their own roots will take 2 summers to get to a size to be considered mature. And even then diameter will depend alot on lighting conditions.

You are correct in what cuttings are. In my opinion the sizes are personal preference. With a 12" you can cut it and let it callous and have 2 cacti. But they also look prettier.

Here are some of mine that all come from cuttings. And the second pic is of 2 year old seedlings.

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#3 CoyoteMesc


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Posted 31 August 2007 - 07:30 PM

well said llama,
ahh, and no cacti collection is completed with out a prickly
Mine went nuts this year. nice collection

#4 BaconSquishy



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Posted 03 September 2007 - 06:53 PM

Anyone know how long it would take for some San Pedro seeds to germinate?

#5 Phungivore


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Posted 04 September 2007 - 02:39 AM

about a week or 3 on the Trich seeds , but that depends on temp and moisture wich i could not tell you how either would effect the germ time but i know they affect it.

#6 Seven-NJ



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Posted 04 September 2007 - 03:44 PM

ive been wanting to start some t pan, or t peru from seeds, but is this even worth it in the long run? should i just get some cuttings and go from there?

#7 Myc


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:35 PM

ive been wanting to start some t pan, or t peru from seeds, but is this even worth it in the long run? should i just get some cuttings and go from there?

I am really new to this hobby and you are asking some of the same questions I did. It really depends on what your goals are. If you love cultivating, then starting from seed is relatively inexpensive and only moderately demanding compared to other plants like orchids. Besides the joy of watching your seedlings come along is very rewarding.
Starting from cuttings accomplishes more asthetically pleasing results faster if you want a mature cactus.
I decided on both. I purchased cuttings from Bouncing Bear Botanicals and can't say enough good things about them. The cuttings were quite large in diameter and longer than the advertised length. They arrived in good time and were in excellent shape ready immediately for rooting. One of my specimens is already putting on a pup.
I am currently constructing a seedling greenhouse in the woodshop. When finished, I intent to start an indoor seedling project over the winter and do some grafting to pereskiopsis. BBB also offers seeds and I was impressed at the number included with my order. A real stand-up company!

#8 Set


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 08:29 PM

I'm going to recommend both Pedro and Bridgesii. Bridg for the spines, Pedro for the NON spines, and for a different dreamtime communion with the plant. I love my Pedro's...

Then I'm going to second the idea of doing both cuttings and seeds. You'll get much much faster/more satisfying results out of some cuttings unless you're planning on growing a really large amount of the cacti and or you enjoy watching the entire growth from seed... in which case starting with several seedlings will be a great experience and you won't mind that they take around three years of decent growth (maybe more in zone 6?) before they really start to grow fast.

#9 Seven-NJ



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Posted 06 September 2007 - 09:57 AM

thanks for your input guys, im going to do both. the cuttings will like you said aesthetically please me while my seeds grow.i dont mind them taking years to grow as i love to grow for fun. im just worried about the winters here. its gets very cold so how do i go about sustaining them in the winter? obviously ill be bringing them inside, but then what?

#10 Myc


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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:48 PM

From what I've read we should keep them from freezing temps. by moving them indoors. If continued growing temps. can't be provided (around 80*F) then stop watering and keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent etiolation (sp?). Unrooted cuttings can last up to 6 months or longer.
Watering during the winter without the proper growth temperatures can cause root rot because the plant is dormant and not using the water provided.
I think of cacti as water storage vessels. They get larger during growth season by storing water for dormancy or hard times like drought. I think we'll be fine by following the no water/ no direct sunlight strategy.
Then when growth temps. are available again next year, SLOWLY reintroduce them to sunlight. Wait to see some new growth and then resume watering.

I'm no expert and would appreciate any adjustments or suggestions.

#11 Seven-NJ



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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:02 AM

Myc thanks man, thats pretty much what i planned on doing. i do have metal halide but i dont think im going to use that all winter for one cactus. but next season i plan to expand my collection.

#12 Vapor



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Posted 12 September 2007 - 10:56 PM

Start with calloused cuttings of proven genetics genetics. Eventually these will produce pups with identical qualities. It will take you years to get a seeded plant to the size of a first season pup. They will root best in the spring. Do not water all all and keep in diffused light/low light until they are well rooted. Do not water at all until the first root bud/s appear and then only very little until they really root. You can take them out of the soil to see how they are doing root wise. Once real roots appear pot them and disturb as little as possible. Break them into sunlight gradually from shade, to partial shade, to sun light. Avoid full sun for the entire day. Three or 4 hours of direct sulight should be enough with varying lesser degrees for the balance of the day. Water only when soil is bone dry. Do not over water. Avoid freezing temps. Good luck!

#13 owenbowen04


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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:28 AM

Perfect! This information was exactally what i was looking for. Topiats alway come through when you need them. Sorry for not getting back to you guys sooner, just moved into a new place and it took forever to get the internet set up.

Im going to take the advice you gave and start some seeds, eventually. I don't mind the wait and enjoy accomplishing a project, from start to finish. I have decided that Bridgesii are going to be the subject of my choice. Just looking at the spines gives me the chills. So I guess i'm going to hold off germinating the seeds until early spring.

#14 yerbaadam


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Posted 13 September 2007 - 06:54 AM

Let us know if you find a good price on trichocerus seeds.

Good luck! You will LOVE the cacti.

#15 rocketman



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Posted 13 September 2007 - 10:14 AM

Myc, just re read the post. I can add one thing that llama may not have mentioned.

Do not graft in the winter time under flouros. Wait until springtime when you have warmer out door temps then graft. If you have some HIDs then graft anytime you want.

Flouros are good for the first year of a seedlings life, but after that they need more light or complete dormancy. Not indirect sunlight like myc said. I have seen too many cacti left in range of a window that never gets full sun etiolate like crazy......complete or near complete darkness is best. I keep my most valued ones in a pantry over the winter. They see an incandescent light once a day at the most, not anything to prevent dormancy.

Adam should have a seed source to let you check out. It is in fact where 99% of all the vendors I have seen get thier stuff.

#16 MrMycelium


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Posted 10 November 2007 - 03:13 PM

How do you get a cutting to root? can someone point me to a good tek?

#17 CoyoteMesc


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Posted 11 March 2008 - 06:13 PM

Sacred Cactus, Trichocereus Pachanoi, Peruvianus, San Pedro Cactus

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